Neglect charge nets six years for what judge calls pattern of abuse

- BY RUTH ANN KRAUSE Post-Tribune correspond­ent

A Gary woman whose 2-year-old daughter endured treatment a judge called “close to torture” got a six-year prison term Tuesday for neglect of a dependent.

Lake Superior Court Judge Samuel Cappas told Alexis Alexander that scars on her child were obvious from photograph­s taken at the hospital after relatives sought medical treatment for the toddler.

Cappas berated Alexander for making the child “endure what I would call almost close to torture while she was in your care and custody. You also inflicted on her emotional scars that will run deep,” he said.

Alexander, 22, admitted she failed to get medical attention for her daughter between December 2010 and October 2011 when she was living in Gary. On Oct. 26, 2011, the baby was taken to Methodist Hospitals Northlake campus in Gary, where she was diagnosed with a broken tibia, multiple bruises on her right elbow, right ear, right cheek, left ear and back.

Alexander admitted she did not seek medical care for her daughter after seeing bruises and a leg injury from a fall down stairs a week before she was taken to the emergency room.

Deputy prosecutor Michelle Jatkiewicz introduced photograph­s of the child’s injuries, which Cappas referred to as he described what looked like marks around the neck from choking and signs on the child’s back and sides of being whipped with a belt or cord.

“I’m sorry,” Alexander said, sobbing. “I did not hurt my baby. I made the mistake of leaving her at the house with somebody who did.” Alexander said she was gone for 30 to 45 minutes to try to get money for food. “I’ve been really suffering trying to get my life right,” she said.

Cappas, however, didn’t buy it, noting the child had a scar across the bridge of her nose and on her left cheek, plus other indication­s of older injuries.

Defense attorney Lemuel Stigler argued for the minimum two-year sentence, served either on probation or in a work release program. He pointed out his client has no prior criminal conviction­s, has a place to live with her sister in Portage and has applied to college.

Jatkiewicz argued that the child’s injuries went far beyond bumps and bruises children suffer in everyday life. “These are persistent, abusive, long-term acts done on this child,” she said.

Cappas said Alexander failed her daughter.

“If a child can’t depend on her mother, who can she depend on? That’s supposed to be the strongest bond, between a mother and child,” he said. “I don’t believe this was a one-time event but a pattern over time.”

Alexander spent 208 days in Lake County Jail after the arrest warrant in the case was served in July.

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